The first stage of the World Cup of University Hockey in Cârța was spectacular and entertaining, but the third day of play clearly surpassed all expectations. It was all evenly-matched, high-stakes and exciting matches on Sunday. It is no wonder that the games drew significant crowds starting in the early hours of the day.
The third round of the World Cup of University Hockey group stage took place on Sunday at Felcsík Ice Rink. All four matches were highly anticipated, as a number of important questions were yet to be answered. The outcome of the two matches in Group A would determine which team would secure the top spot and third place in the group. While in Group B, three teams had a shot at making it to the semi-finals, making both games crucial.
The matches were in line with expectations in terms of both the pace and quality, with no surprises. It was evident that all the participating teams had found their footing in the game and were capable of playing increasingly high-quality hockey.
At 9:30, the Swedes, who had a rough start in their first two games, faced off against Hungary, who also had no points but were showing an improving form. The game was a real rollercoaster, with Sweden taking the lead initially, followed by Hungary pulling ahead, and then Sweden getting in front again. Ultimately, neither regulation nor extra time resulted in a winner, and the game was decided by a shootout, with Hungary emerging as the victors.
Following a brief intermission, Canada and the Czech Republic competed in a highly entertaining game. There the Czechs came back from 2-0 down to take a 4-2 lead. Nevertheless, the North American squad steadily increased their pressure on the opposing team’s goal, and in the final five minutes, they secured the three points needed to get a spot in the semi-finals.
In the other match of the group, the host nation Romania, with five points, played against Poland, who were still without a win. This match was a reflection of the tournament’s overall balance. Romania could have been considered the frontrunners due to their performance in the first two rounds, but the game was far from being a done deal. Both teams had several opportunities, with Poland taking an early lead but later being matched by Romania. The second half of the game followed a similar pattern, with the only difference being that by the time the hosts narrowed the gap to a single goal, they did not have enough time to level the score.
The USA – Slovakia match shaped up to be a real treat. Two teams in top form and of high quality faced off to determine who would advance to the semi-finals as group winners. Both teams played up to expectations in terms of performance. Despite an initial rapid exchange of goals, both teams’ defences tightened up in the later stages of the game, resulting in the scoreboard showing a draw that persisted for a significant portion of the match. Even with the scoreless stalemate, it was a high quality contest, which the USA ultimately won by a single goal.
By Sunday evening, the upper and lower bracket semi-final pairings were decided. The teams that finished first in their respective groups will compete against the second-placed teams to secure a place in the final, whereas the third and fourth-placed teams will be competing for fifth to eighth place for the remainder of the tournament.
Following the break on Monday, the World Cup of University Hockey will resume on Tuesday and Wednesday. Whether attending the venue in person or following the action online, it will be worthwhile stay tuned as the best is yet to come.
You can also buy your tickets online until 9:30 on the morning of the game day.
Final results of the groups:
- United States – 9 points
- Slovakia – 6 points
- Hungary – 2 points
- Sweden – 1 point
- Canada – 7 points
- Romania – 5 points
- Czech Republic – 3 points
- Poland – 3 points
The remaining schedule of the tournament:
9:30 Hungary vs Poland
13:00 Sweden vs Czech Republic
16:30 United States of America vs Romania
20:00 Slovakia vs Canada
9:30 match for 7th place
13:00 match for 5th place
16:30 Bronze match
Results of the third round of the group stage:
Hungary – Sweden 4-3 (after shootout)
Scorers: Simon (2), Trozsák, Molnár, Nyberg, Lidwall, Olsson.
Canada – Czech Republic 5-4
Scorers: Taillefer, Barley, DiGiulio, Carter, Siebenga, and Zidek, Cizek, Simacek, Husarik.
Poland – Romania 5-4
Scorers: Yerassov, Slusarczyk, Bezwinski, Proczek, Slusarczyk, and Ervin Salamon, Dávid Szabó, Olivér Gecse, Koppány Márton.
United States of America – Slovakia 2-1
Scorers: Kalandyk, Smith and Smolka.